The right to freedom of speech is one of those recognized human rights that most of us value with a passion. It is a value covered in legislation by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and most country specific human rights law. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) recognizes the right to freedom of speech as “the right to hold opinions without interference.”
Now that is all well and good however; don’t we all need to exercise and enjoy our freedoms in a responsible manner? In a way that doesn’t have a detrimental impact upon others? This very issue has just been examined by Dr Matthew Ashton who takes a regular look at British, American and media politics…
The rhetoric, rights and responsibilities of exercising free speech. After this weekends tragic and senseless events in Arizona I didn’t blog about it immediately because I couldn’t think of anything to say that didn’t sound facile… (Read more)
Freedom of speech in The United Kingdom or The United States, along with most other countries in the civilised world, is now considered by many as something of a divine right. Unfortunately for society, many of those who ‘expect’ their freedoms also have no concept or understanding of how those ‘freedoms’ have actually been earned. They forget all the incidents, events and deaths of our political and social history that have framed and formulated the society we have today.
As many people appear to live their life in the ‘here and now’ these days, and with little or no concern for others, much of the opinion (and anger) that we formulate is fuelled by what we personally hear and see. It therefore follows when freedoms are expressed with levels of frenzied action, those who fuel that anger must take some responsibility for the results.
In a similar but lesser incident to the Arizona shootings; Edward Woollard the fire extinguisher launcher during the student riots in November, has been sent to jail. Our politicians, social activist groups and (increasingly) the media (see previous post), must shoulder much of the blame for whipping up the angst, hormones and testosterone in these impressionable young people.
- Shooting opens divide on inflamed rhetoric (reuters.com)
- After Arizona tragedy, it’s time to dial down the political rhetoric (chicagonow.com)
- “Arizona Sherriff Clarence Dupnik Blames Right-wing Rhetoric for the Shootings There” and related posts (tjwalker.com)
- Delving into the Problems in the Implementation of Chinese Human Rights Obligation (prweb.com)
- Theresa May should consider freedom of speech before banning pastor | Adam Wagner (guardian.co.uk)
2 thoughts on “Exercise your freedom responsibly”
Thanks for quoting from my post. I glad you liked it. There really is too much emphasis these days ont he right of freedom of speech without mentioning the responisbilities that go along with it. Whenever any of my students claim that we’re living in a police state I point out that we now have more freedom of speech than at any point in recorded history and that it is a right denied to billions of poeple round the world.
Although I only stumbled on your blog fairly recently, I find it refreshing to read a more balanced and rounded view of political issues. All the more important when someone like yourself is actually tutoring others in the ways of the world.